When Mt. Kelud Erupted

Life is indeed full of surprises. I was close to ticking Borobudur Temple off my bucket list when the inevitable happened. Mt. Kelud, a volcano located about 280Km east of Yogyakarta erupted a few hours before our visit Borobudur. Of all times naman. Talaga naman.

The very reason why we planned a trip to Yogyakarta was to see the Borobudur Temples.We were excited to see it that we almost booked a regular trip (normal hours) and a sunrise trip (before it opens to the public). At least Wisnu (our tour guide) was kind enough to explain to me that it was a waste of money to visit there twice. So we have agreed to just do a sunrise tour. Hence, our overnight stay at Magelang. 

The day before, while we were at Mt. Merapi, I was actually joking about what to do when Mt. Merapi erupts.

We retired early in our beds that night to recover from the more than 1.5 day sleepless streak so we really had no idea what was happening on the eastern side of Java.

We woke up around 4am and as requested, the hotel staff knocked on our doors a few minutes after.

As soon as we were ready, I went ahead and proceeded to the lobby to meet Wisnu. I saw him talking with the hotel staff and approached them to see what they were looking through their flashlights and found out that it was ash fall. At that moment, we weren't sure if Mt. Merapi erupted or another volcano did. We still pushed through with our trip to Borobudur even if it was raining ash.

We arrived at Manohara hotel after 10 minutes. Manohara hotel is the only hotel located inside the Borobudur complex that's why they are the only ones who can provide the sunrise tour. The rest of the tourists who will go after sunrise will pass through another entrance.

We were then consulted by Wisnu if we would continue our sunrise tour given that condition. The group decided that we just go back to the hotel and wait until after sunrise before going back to Borobudur since it will be a waste of money to not see the sunrise because of the heavy ash fall.
Back at the hotel, I turned on the TV to check on the news about the eruption and found out that it is not Merapi that erupted but Kelud. The news is in Bahasa so we were still unaware of the extent of the damage brought about by the eruption. So we stayed in our rooms until breakfast then went to the hotel's cafeteria.
The ash fall got worse that we had to use umbrellas outside.

Just as we were ordering our food, electricity went out which also meant no internet connection.

hotel's open air restaurant

The whole place felt eerie because everything was gray.

hotel lobby clean up

After breakfast, Wisnu was back at the hotel again and brought with him the worst news. The local government declared to suspend classes, office work, and close down ALL TOURIST ATTRACTIONS - yes including Borobudur. 

Left with no choice, we just packed our bags and checked out from the hotel and headed back to the city.

The whole city was covered in thick ash. This was the road condition on our way back to Yogyakarta City. We were driving slowly because Wisnu could hardly see the road and the other vehicles.

Mendut Temple

All the stores in Yogyakarta were closed since they needed to clean up. The whole street of Malioboro looked totally different from what it is the other day. 

It was heartbreaking that we traveled all the way to Yogyakarta only to end up in this situation. But I'm still thankful that at least we are safe.


  1. Yogyakarta is a beautiful city of Indonesia. My uncle used to visit there for his business purpose. He always told me about the famous attractions of this country. He had visited the Ullen Sentalu, Merapi Volcano, Ramayana Ballet and Jomblang Cave over there. I’ll also visit there with my uncle but after my los angeles to grand canyon bus tours.


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